Saying Thank You
On Monday morning, I had the privilege of attending the dedication of the memorial at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station honoring those from CV who had fallen in the line of duty.
The skies over the parking lot at the sheriff’s station were overcast as a sizable crowd took their seats and, after the presentation of colors, station captain Dave Silversparre approached the microphone.
The captain recalled the history of the two men who were being remembered, taking the crowd back to those fateful days in 1957 and 1969.
Deputy David Horr had not been at the Montrose station for very long when he and his partner on Dec. 7, 1957 received a call of a domestic disturbance in the La Crescenta area. The pair arrived on scene and approached the front door. Though the house was lit, no one answered their knock, so they went around back and Horr knocked again. Instead of someone coming to the door, a shotgun blast met his knock, rocking him off his feet. He managed to tell his partner to take cover and that “he’d make it.”
Deputy Horr was rushed to a local hospital with wounds to his stomach and hand. The wounds in the stomach were especially bad because not only were there pellets from the 16-gauge shotgun embedded in his body, but also bits of the screen door that was blown out by the blast.
The deputy remained hospitalized for months until on Feb. 9, 1958 he died.
Deputy Horr’s son Donald Sutton was at the dedication. Don was gracious in thanking all those who contributed over the years in getting the memorial installed and who made it possible for the story of his father to be told, even thanking Mary O’Keefe and I.
Another local hero who was honored Monday was Chuck Rea.
Chuck was a reserve deputy with the Montrose Search and Rescue Team. Back in 1969, during a particularly nasty rain storm, Chuck and his fellow team members were called to Big Tujunga Canyon where 30 or so folks were trapped on the wrong side of a now-raging river.
Some of the team cut down trees to forge a path across the water. Apparently at one point, Chuck lost his footing and became trapped under the water. It pounded him and despite the efforts of his fellow teammates, they couldn’t keep him above the rapids and he drowned.
Some of Chuck’s family was also at the dedication on Monday. His daughter Debbie and grandson Kyle spoke for a few minutes, Debbie recalling memories of her dad and how much he has been missed over the years. It was heart wrenching and extremely sad to hear her recollections of a man taken too soon from his family.
The memorial was an idea initiated years ago by CV Sgt. Randy Sulstrom and ultimately launched due to the dedication of professional volunteer Steve Pierce, the CV Sheriff’s Support Group under the leadership Lisa Dutton and Leo Lesh, and CV Sheriff Capt. Dave Silversparre. The money was raised from fundraisers held and from generous donations from the community.
I was glad to see that the importance of the memorial dedication was not lost on our elected officials. L.A. County Mayor Michael Antonovich and Sheriff Lee Baca were in attendance as were members of the Montrose Search & Rescue Team, station volunteers, Volunteers on Patrol, uniformed Reserves, Explorers – who also presented the colors – and station personnel. Representatives from U.S. Forestry Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department plus our local dignitaries from the town council and chamber of commerce were also present.
Especially poignant was the attendance of a couple of Montrose Search & Rescue Team members who were in Big Tujunga the night that Chuck Rea died including my friend Warren Boehm.
Looking at the Montrose Search and Rescue Team members, the deputies, the volunteers – all those who actively work to serve this community and make it safe – made me very proud and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who uttered a quiet prayer for their safety.